Sex discrimination: adoption of the Equal Treatment Directive

Adopted on 9 February 1976, the European Commision’s ‘Equal Treatment Directive’ (76/207/EEC) established the principle that men and women should be treated equally ‘in regards to access to employment, vocational training and promotion, and working conditions’.  Member states were given a prescribed period in which to ensure that it was implemented.

As a Directive of the Council of the European Communities, it constituted a legal measure (under European law) that required all member states to put into force the necessary legislation to comply with the Directive.

The Directive also specified that discrimination on grounds of marital or family status, or pregnancy or maternity, constituted unequal treatment of men and women.